Portrait of a Gourmand – A gourmand is simply, someone who takes pleasure in food and eating. This is a continuing photographic series of gourmands, from all walks of life. There are many gourmands that inspire us in profound ways that make us experience and think about food differently. These portraits essays share their amazing stories.
Our very own Todd of White On Rice Couple is now in front of the lens, rather than being behind the scenes, where he normally is for these Portrait of a Gourmand shoots. Todd has a fascinating food story that is deserving to be highlighted in this portrait series.
He was born and raised on a cattle ranch, into a family that made their humble living off their land. Growing up in a small town of population 1,500 (most of which were probably cattle) and where internet didn’t exist back then, his ravenous curiosity kept him continuously open minded to life outside the ranch. By the time he left for college, he knew his calling would be down in Southern California, a land so vastly different from his youth of mountains and rolling hills.
Todd packed what few belonging he could strap onto his motorcycle and rode over 1,000 miles to Los Angeles, where he traded his time with horses for the wastelands of congested freeway traffic. His love of the outdoors, food, people and culture led him to meet me, Diane. We met in a coffee house, each thought the other one was cute, stuck to each other like White On Rice, raise two dogs and a garden full of fruit trees, started a blog and ended up here, on White On Rice Couple (dot) com. He will always be my cowboy.
In the forever precious words of Paul Harvey —“And now you know the rest of the story…”
“If you could have one big finale meal, what would your final feast be?”
Before Man Eats
A Sidecar. Only made with fresh lemon juice, cognac, and triple sec. Don’t even think of making it with a mix instead of fresh juice. That would be complete sacrilege to this classic cocktail. I know it should have Cointreau, but I like the lighter quality of the triple sec.
Let the Food Begin
Bánh Xeò (Vietnamese Crispy Crepe)- nice and crispy, filled with pork butt, daikon sprouts, tons of herbs & greens on the side & Diane’s mom’s nước mắm. If it’s chilly weather, a good, kinda smokey oolong tea. If it’s warm out, a Tavel Rosé.
A small bowl of Phở (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup). It perfectly refreshes the palate. All the proper accompaniments (herbs, sprouts, lime, hot sauce, hoisin, fresh cracked pepper). A cafe sữa dá (Vietnamese Iced Coffee) topped with fresh whipped cream to savor alongside.
The Main Act
A Hereford, grass-fed, t-bone steak cooked medium rare, with just sea salt, fresh pepper, and butter topping the steak. Along side, my potatoes au gratin, and creamed baby green beans. A glass or two of Gigondas, my favorite comfort Southern Rhone wine.
The Grand Finale
Tiramisu and an espresso topped with whipped cream.
Everything was chosen not just for tastiness, but because of what memories it stirs. All of the portions would be preferably small, just a taste of each, except for the t-bone. Portions not to saturate the palate, but to awaken. The Sidecar is a ritual wind down drink for Diane & me. The Bánh Xeò and Phở are my two favorites that the crazy Asian with whom I share my life has introduced me to. I can’t go very long before I have to have a Viet food fix, and these two top the list. Plus, everything Vietnamese reminds me of the great life we’ve shared together. The cafe sữa dá’s with whipped cream I used to make for my staff at the cafe I GM’ed. I grew up a little cowboy on a cattle ranch. The t-bone was always our favorite. Gnawing and sucking on the little fat bits on the bone, so tasty. The potatoes are one of my favorite dishes to make, melt in your mouth good. The green beans remind me of my grandmother & how she was the first to make veggies I normally didn’t like into savory delicacies. The Gigondas is a great blue-collar wine. There are higher regarded wines out there, but this one suits me perfectly. Tiramisu is the perfect dessert. Alcohol, chocolate, coffee, the creamy marscapone portion, and the inebriated lady-finger bottom, the best of everything sweet. The espresso with whipped cream to finish… a great friend, Antoine, and I used to share them daily when we worked together. This is my life on the plate and in the cup.
More on the Portrait of a Gourmand series:
- Shauna James Ahern & Daniel Ahern of Gluten Free Girl and The Chef
- Chef Hasty Torres of Madame Chocolat
- Martin Reed of I Love Blue Sea
- Dan and Jael Rattigan of French Broad Chocolate Lounge
- Amy Scattergood of LA Weekly Food Squid Ink
- Todd Porter of White On Rice Couple
- Helen DuJardin of Tartelette
Who’s next? Stay tuned for the next edition of Portrait of a Gourmand.